Reporter’s Notebook: North Carolina’s Smallest Brewery

beer notebook_web2

If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you’re really missing out on a wild collection of inane commentary, especially on the beer industry.

But that means you probably don’t know I’ve been lucky to begin contributing to All About Beer magazine. My first story, about the growing connection between small breweries and local agriculture, isn’t currently online but can be found in the May issue along with really great work by other writers.

In the meantime, I have extra content from an upcoming story that offers a “behind the scenes” look at one of the piece’s subjects: Dave Peters, the owner and head brewer (of course) of Bear Creek Brews, North Carolina’s smallest (probably) brewery.

How small? Dave still brews on a 12.5-gallon system built 14 years ago with equipment from homebrewing company More Beer. He makes five or 10-gallon batches at a time with the help of trusty brew dog Buddy, a Cocker Spaniel.

dave peters-bear creek brews-buddy

But Bear Creek’s size isn’t the only thing that sets it apart. It’s the home-like feel of Dave’s setup, which is literally in the backyard of his 38 acres. You have to take a couple country roads to find the location, then drive a quarter-mile along a dirt path through the woods, where you’re greeted by a variety of handmade decorative faces on trees.

bear creek brews-trees

Once you arrive, chances are you’ll be greeted by Buddy the Brew Dog’s friends – 17 chickens that lay upward of 11 eggs a day.

bear creek brews-chicken

It’s an interesting change of pace from the industrial and urban revivalist spaces you find most start-up breweries these days. It’s different from driving to the downtown of a city or rebuilding suburb, or even a farmhouse brewery in the middle of the country. Dave’s setup feels like home because it actually is his home.

As such, his “office” at Bear Creek Brews isn’t terribly different. It’s a simple setup inside a 20-foot long, metal cargo container he uses for equipment storage. He was able to get the container through his “regular” job, running a contracting company.

bear creek brews-office

Dave has been brewing for four years and is ready to expand. How so? Visitors are encouraged to help the cause…

bear creek brews-expansion fund glass_web

Just kidding. He has “big” plans for what’s next with his small-time business.

What might that be? That’s the subject of an upcoming All About Beer piece to share later.

+Bryan Roth
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac

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4 thoughts on “Reporter’s Notebook: North Carolina’s Smallest Brewery

  1. Pingback: Reporter’s Notebook: Small Brewers with a Big Stake in Beer | This Is Why I'm Drunk

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